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Tessa Sutherland

Photo of Tessa Sutherland

K-12 Special Education

# of Years in Education: 4

I was born in Colorado, but my family moved to California when I was young and I graduated from La Reina High School in Thousand Oaks, California. I am the eldest of four in a blended family and from a young age I loved to be my mother’s little helper. I went to Scripps College in Claremont, California, and graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in both English Literature and History. While in college, I studied abroad at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and then at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. I also worked for an Americorp program called Jumpstart, which worked with at-risk preschoolers to better prepare them for kindergarten. My first year I was a corp member before becoming a team leader and running an intervention program within a Head Start Preschool classroom.

After college, I lived outside of a tiny town in Switzerland called Hombrechtikon for a year and worked as an au pair taking care of three small boys on a farm. After returning to the US, I worked for a year at Moorpark Community College as a writing tutor and supplemental ESL instructor. After moving to Colorado Springs, I worked at my dad’s counseling office as an assistant office manager before working at Ruth Washburn Cooperative Nursery School. I worked there for two years and became Group Lead Qualified to teach preschool during that time.

My mother sold me on the idea of moving to Cascade to join her and my step-dad. I loved the idea of living in a small town surrounded by such beauty. My dad had lived in Idaho when he was young and had graduated from Rimrock High School in Grandview before attending the University of Idaho in Moscow, so I also felt a connection to Idaho through his stories. I moved to Cascade in May 2017 with my two twenty-pound cats: Basil and Munchkin. I was able to indulge my love of books by finding a job at the Cascade Public Library first and then at the Cascade Aquatic and Recreation Center. I worked as a secondary paraprofessional at Cascade Schools last year. This year I am super excited to have been hired to be the Special Education Teacher and have started the certification process through the ABCTE teacher certification program.

I hope to meet the needs of all of our students at the place and level where they are now with an eye always to where they could be and how we can assist them in reaching their fullest potential.

Why does Mrs. Sutherland teach?

In Fourth Grade, I volunteered three recesses a week to help in our Special Education classes at the school. One of the little girls would smile so big when she saw me. My friend and I would take her and another little boy for wheelchair “races” in the playground and her giggles would fill the air. She suffered a brain hemorrhage at the end of the year and her father told me that her first sounds afterwards were race car noises, just like we had made for her on the playground.

“If I can stop one heart from breaking,

I shall not live in vain;

If I can ease one life the aching,

Or cool one pain,

Or help one fainting robin

Unto his nest again,

I shall not live in vain.

  • Emily Dickinson”